Tag Archives: octane press

photo of Downtown Des Moines

The Octane Press Party

graphic of Court Avenue Brewing Co. Logo

Court Avenue Brewing Co. Logo

Teardrop Trail Log: June15, 2017

Lee Klancher, of Octane Press had hosted a meet-and-greet in conjunction with Red Power Roundup in Racine the previous year. It was a wonderful opportunity to meet some of the other authors and many of the people I had worked with to publish Canning, Pickling and Freezing with Irma Harding. This year, the gathering was in downtown Des Moines at the Court Avenue Restaurant & Brewing Company. It is located in the historic Saddlery Building, built in 1881by J. Rubelman of Muscatine, Iowa who decided that Des Moines with its two rivers and 13 railways would be a good setting for his saddlery company. The building had housed many different businesses but after the flood of 1993, the building was filled with 19 feet of water and was vacant until 1996 when the Court Avenue Restaurant & Brewing Company began to move its brewing equipment in. The décor and beer labels celebrate the history of the building and brewing in Iowa. The walls are adorned with pictures, posters, signs and bottles from old-time Iowa breweries.

The room was buzzing with energy. The food was delicious and the beer memorable. It was a great opportunity to see old friends like Sally Jacobs from the McCormick International Harvester Collection and meet new friends.

photo of presenter and Irma Harding

Femineering, My Irma Harding Presentation

Teardrop Trail Log: June 15, 2017

graphic of Irma Harding with "They're Femineered"

They’re Femineered

I can still remember meeting Lee Klancher from Octane Press and discussing food and cookbooks. Sometimes the universe can create amazing opportunities. I was delighted when Lee introduced me to Irma Harding and invited me to write Canning, Pickling and Freezing with Irma Harding. It was a great project that has put me in touch with so many wonderful people. Octane Press has hosted book signings and my presentations at each of the Red Power Round Ups. I always love to meet Irma’s fans and enjoy hearing people share their personal family stories about relatives who canned as well as how they started preserving food.

It has been fun being “Irma’s ghost writer” and telling her stories as well as the stories of the home economists who took Irma’s message to the women of the Mid-West farm county and taught them how to freeze food. This year’s topic was Femineering, a term developed by International Harvester to highlight and honor the unique contributions of the women who helped develop the refrigerators and freezers. One of the old newsletters describes how the “feminine eye continued watching, spot-checking the production lines and testing performance under laboratory conditions.”

It was nice to see several friends from previous presentations. I had met Marsha Corbin, the Executive Director at the Old Trails Region in West Central Missouri at a past Red Power Roundup. She had invited me to share one of my Irma Harding presentations for the Missouri Cattle Women. After the presentation ended, Travis Loschen and his wife Meghan stopped to say hi. They had seen several of the Irma presentations at the last few Red Power Roundups. They have an incredible Irma Harding Collection in the garage of their home in Royal, Illinois. Check out the video. Irma’s fans are a dedicated group!

photo of presenter and Irma Harding

Femineering in action

Red Power Roundup 2017 Walkabout

Teardrop Trail Log: June 15, 2017

This was my fourth experience with the Red Power Roundup. Huron, Sedalia and Union Grove had been memorable, but the Iowa State Fair was the largest layout I had ever seen. Previous attendance had been between 15,000 and 25,000, but the estimate for this gathering was 50,000. This was going to be special!

Marilyn safely ensconced with her adoring public at the Octane Press booth, I set out for a quick tour of the nearby environs. The vendors, including Octane, were mostly located in the “Varied Industries Building.” I spent about and hour in its air-conditioned interior and headed outside.

I was immediately introduced to the “Machinery Grounds,” and beautiful red tractors were visible in every direction. Not surprisingly, much of the grounds were large concrete lots. But a pleasant wooded park was also nearby and crowded with the fascinating machines. In one curious display, 15 progressively-sized tractors — both toy and real — were connected together end-to-end. I couldn’t help wondering what the point of that was, but I would find out while watching the parade a couple of days later.

I enjoy looking at old machinery, in part because my grandparents were farmers and I had free reign of their place on summer visits as a child. There was plenty of old machinery there to look at and play with, and the fascination was born. As mentioned in an earlier post, my morning walkabout ended by meeting a new friend, Ron. The young man with the pedal tractor Marilyn and I had encountered earlier in the day (and would see again later on) made a cameo appearance also.

Photo of the Iowa State Fair Varied Industries Building interior

A Day at the Red Power Roundup

Teardrop Trail Log: June 15, 2017

photo of vendor with IH Curios

IH Curios

Marilyn had duties in the Octane Press booth, so I decided to see how much of the fair I could survey before lunch and her afternoon Irma Harding presentation.

photo of negotiation at Red Power

Driving a Hard Bargain

The vendors were mostly located in the “Varied Industries Building.” and it took about an hour to look over the displays. You tend to see the same folks year after year. It’s always interesting though, and fun to catch up with the folks you know from previous ‘Roundups.

photo of a Red Power Clown

A new friend

After the vendor displays, it was time to venture out. The Fairgrounds are huge, and there were tractors everywhere. I started on the “Machinery Grounds” and spent the rest of the morning looking over the assembled equipment. As I was shooting a tractor, a fellow struck up a conversation. We had both noticed a youngster peddling a toy tractor down the sidewalk, and I mentioned that I had seen this hard-working lad earlier. As we talked, Ron told me about his years of farming, love of cows, work with animal breeding and avocational clowning. Quite an interesting fellow. We exchanged business cards and said we’d keep in touch. You just never know who you’re going to meet at a Red Power Roundup.

photo of Lunch at Red Power

Lunch at Red Power


It was time to prepare for Marilyn’s presentation. We found her hall along one side to the Varied Industries Building and with the help of Lee’s staff, got the projector set up. Hungry with plenty of time for lunch, I wandered over the the food concession. Hamburgers and fries were the delicacy of the day, and we chowed down.

Marilyn’s presentation went perfectly (see separate post), and the afternoon was ours to explore. I took her around Machinery Grounds for a little while before we decided some air-conditioning would be nice. The “4H Building” was relatively close, so we headed there. Inside, we discovered ranks of Cub Cadet garden tractors and IHC Autowagons.

In one corner of the building, they were setting up the annual auction and I noticed an enormous chest freezer. It was immaculate, and the owner was supervising the load-in. Inside, there were packages of mock food all wrapped in authentic Irma Harding freezer paper. We chatted with him for a few minutes before he had to go out for another load. We both wondered: did he realize that the Irma Harding paper he had used was more valuable than the freezer itself?

On the way out of the building, we spotted the toy tractor operator. It looked like he was done for the day.

photo of boy with toy tractor resting on a bench

That’s enough for one day

photo of One of the consessions and the Sky Glider in the distance

Checking in at Red Power Round Up

Teardrop Trail Log: June 15, 2017

On the first morning in the campground, we decided that it would be best to head down to the main part of the fairgrounds and get breakfast rather than cook in camp. We had been able to explore a bit as we drove in, but the sheer size of the fairgrounds was challenging. We ventured down the campground’s rolling hills taking in the sights. It’s always fun to see the trailers, tents and other rigs and how people set up camp.

photo of Breakfast at Red Power

Breakfast at Red Power

As we walked though the fairgrounds, I began imagining what it would be like when the Fair was in full swing. Over a million people from around the world attend the fair during its 11-day run. We went by the various buildings, exhibition halls, the Sky Glider, Giant Slide, rides, and other popular attractions. Over 70 types of food on-a-stick are available during the Fair, I was imagining all the tastes and smells but sadly those concessions were shuttered.

Tractors began to appear from all directions, heading for the start of daily parade. We found the Varied Industries Building where many of the events and exhibitions were being held. The booth for Octane Press, the publisher of my cookbook, Canning, Pickling and Freezing with Irma Harding was in that building. We checked in with everyone and then went off in search of breakfast. At Barksdale, next to the famous chocolate chip cookies, we found an amazing breakfast croissant, with bacon and egg. For a few seconds, I thought about cookies for breakfast. Yum! A great way to start the day.

photo of the Octane Press at Red Power 2017

Octane Press at Red Power 2017

photo of a pickup truck

Scouts! Trucks!

Teardrop Trail Log: June 17. 2016

The Red Power Roundup is not all tractors. International made other products, and trucks were a major line. My grandparents had a farm in Nebraska, and I would spend time there each summer. They had two 1946 International pickup trucks — one that ran (a black one) and one that didn’t (it was red). By the time I was about 12, I had learned to drive the tractor (a Model H) and began driving the black pickup. It had a “three on the tree”, manual steering and brakes that almost worked — quite a handful for a beginning driver! I still miss driving it, so I’m especially fond of the restored trucks that show up each year at Red Power.

Later, I roomed with a fellow who had an International Scout. It was a simple thing — easy to work on, and (as I remember it) it always started — even in the dead of winter. We had many adventures in that Scout. Here is a sampling of pickups and scouts from this year:

John Glancy’s Scout (pictured above) along with Jim Allen is one of the authors of the International Scout Encyclopedia (Octane Press). I got to meet the authors at the Octane Press meet and greet the previous night, so having an assortment Scouts to examine was especially fun.

International Auto Buggy Rides

Teardrop Trail Log: June 17, 2016

After breakfast, Marilyn went to her first book signing event, and I was free to explore Red Power. I see new things each time, and this year was no different. Walking into a shed at the far end of the fairgrounds, I was transported back to yesteryear — A line of International Auto Buggys from the turn of the 20th century. We had seen Auto Wagons — the farm truck version from the same time period — at the Sedalia Red Power, but here was a line of several motorized carriages that were more elegant and clearly intended for passengers. Best of all, they were in running condition and the owners were giving rides!

photo of the International Auto Buggy

International Auto Buggy

The Auto Buggy was a 2-cylinder, air-cooled motor car produced between 1907 and 1916. An immediate success, it marked International’s first foray into the world of motorized vehicles. Octane Press has an excellent article about the vehicle and a sales catalog is also available to scratch that curiosity itch.

Some started easier than others and I watched one owner struggle with the buggy, while his colleagues were driving away. Patience paid off though, and he was finally successful. It was such fun to see passengers load up — especially one gentleman who appeared old enough to have ridden in one of these wagons the first time around. It was clear he relished the opportunity.

graphic of International Logo

International Logo from early sales catalog


photo of the Water Street Brewery in Oak Creek, Wisconsin

Octane Press Red Power Reception at Waterstreet Brewery

Teardrop Trail Log: Thursday, June 16

cover of Canning Pickling and Freezing with Irma Harding

Canning, Pickling and Freezing with Irma Harding

Octane Press, the publisher of my cookbook, Canning, Pickling and Freezing with Irma Harding was holding a meet-and-greet in conjunction with Red Power Round Up. The invitation offered an evening of appetizers and libations. We established camp at the Racine County fairgrounds and un-hitched the Ambassador. Then Jim and I headed down the Teardrop Trail to the Water Street Brewery in Oak Creek, Wisconsin.

Octane Press, founded by Lee Klancher, began in the Mid-2000s. Lee had always loved books and the company now publishes his own work and  the work of others. Octane has more than 50 titles in print with about 6 – 12 new projects each year. Octane has been working with International Harvester on a variety of projects that range from calendars to coffee table books.

cover of International Scout Encyclopedia

International Scout Encyclopedia

Since this year’s Red Power Round Up was held in Racine where Case IH Headquarters is  located, this party was an opportunity to meet Sarah Pickett, from Case IH Marketing Communications and many of the folks I’d been working with on the cookbook project. There were other Octane Press authors in attendance. Jim and I enjoyed meeting many of the folks, especially Jim Allen and John Glancy, who had just published the International Scout Encyclopedia.

Wisconsin is all about beer!Since 1987, The Water Street Brewery has produced more than 78,000 half-barrels which is approximately 12,987,700 glasses of beer. The Oak Creek location opened recently in a modern, well-lit building that has one-of-a kind beer and brewing artifacts, featured in the book “The World of Beer Memorabilia” Book. It was great to have Jim was accompanying me and we enjoyed a great dinner of fish tacos and tasted a few more of the delightful brews.

Good restaurant too

Good restaurant too

photo of the car and trailer with semi-trailer trucks

On to Union Grove and Red Power Roundup

Teardrop Trail Log: June 16, 2016

We were back on the Teardrop Trail, headed toward Red Power Round Up in Union Grove, Wisconsin. Just a quick stop at Wisconsin Welcome Center to pick up post cards, we parked the Ambassador with the big rigs. He was finally running with the big dogs. After locating the Racine County Fairgrounds, we pulled around to our camp site. This would be our third Red Power Round Up where collectors, vendors and members of the public gathered to celebrate the history of International Harvester and explore agriculture-related memorabilia. There was an impressive selection of tractors, engines, trucks and equipment. The exhibitions included household appliances, farming equipment and toy collections.

photo of Red Power Roundup camp

Red Power Roundup camp

I had reserved our campsite at last year’s event and we were conveniently located just outside the exhibition building where my publisher, Octane Press had a booth and where I would be signing copies of Canning, Pickling and Freezing with Irma Harding. We backed the Ambassador into the space, and set up Camp Red Power complete with the canopy over the galley. This would be home for the next few days.

Jim has always enjoyed coming to Red Power for the tractors, like the IH tractor his grandfather had on the farm. His cameras come out and he is in tractor heaven. Every year he buys a raffle ticket for an IH tractor. So far no tractors have followed us home.

photo of Jim photographing red tractors

There’s a few tractors over there